19-year-old Madhuvanthy from Chennai is reviving Villu Pattu


Villu Paatu. For some it may ring a bell, but for most of us this may sound very new.

To say in simple words, this is an ancient form of musical storytelling that incorporates music along with narration.

Historical accounts reveal that Villu Paatu was quite prominent in ancient times but today the art is dying. It is hardly performed and more over, many people have never heard of it.

But Madhuvanthy, a 19-year-old is reviving this art thanks to her performances for the past last two years. A student pursuing B Com, Madhuvanthy has been learning this art of musical storytelling for the past eight years.

“I have been doing Villu Paatu at the Sathya Sai organisation,” she says. “It was my senior students at the organisation who told me about this art.’ She goes on to add that not many are aware of it and only a few perform. She explains about the art in a nutshell. ‘It is an art form where music and narration happens side by side.”

Madhuvanthy says that her dive into the world of Villu Paatu was all just an accident. “My college professors requested me if I could perform Villu Paatu for Pongal celebrations,” she recollects. “It was the first time I performed.”

As Madhuvanthy started learning more about Villu Paatu, her interest for the art grew more. She says that the organisers give her the topic or the theme. She explains that each theme demands a unique way of narration and musical style.

“If it’s a Bharathiar’s song, then the music will be a bit classical,” says Madhuvanthy. “Normally the lyrics and the narration are very simple so that even a layman can understand.”

Madhuvanthy wishes to perform at more stages and reach wider audience. “I never expected that this will go down well with rasikas,” she says. “When my professor said to be a part of the performance, I never thought I will start liking it. I find it very interesting. It feels very nice to perform.”

Mohammed Rayaan